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Debate Deepens in Israel Over Biden’s Multi-Stage Truce Framework

US President Joe Biden at the White House, Washington, DC, May 31, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

JNS.orgFive days after U.S. President Joe Biden unveiled a multi-stage outline for a hostage release deal and ceasefire, debate within Israel has intensified over the costs and merits of the plan, as well as the extent to which Biden’s claim that this is an Israeli proposal reflects reality.

Biden’s three-staged proposal envisages a temporary truce lasting six weeks to enable the release of tens of Israeli hostages in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian security prisoners, and a return of Gaza civilians to the north of the Strip. This would be followed by a second phase, according to Biden, during which Israel and Hamas would negotiate an end to the war, and this phase could be stretched out for as long as talks continue. A third phase would see significant investment and reconstruction in Gaza.

On Tuesday, Kan 11 reported that the Israeli War Cabinet had unanimously agreed to ask Washington to provide assurances that Hamas would not be allowed to stretch out the talks as part of an effort to avoid a resumption of the war and a completion of the deal. “In Israel, there is concern over a scenario in which the United States will not provide backing for a resumption of the war, and there are now demands for assurances on this issue” said the report.

Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of the Research and Assessment Division of Israel’s Military Intelligence and a senior research fellow at Misgav Institute for National Security and Zionist Strategy, told JNS that “Biden took the plan that Israel presented for making progress towards a solution [to] the hostage issue and turned it into roadmap for Middle East ‘peace.’”

Under the Israeli vision, he said, the second phase of the plan was supposed to lead to the release of all remaining hostageswithout leaving Hamas in charge of Gaza.

“Biden’s plan proposes that during and after stage two, Hamas will rule Gaza, unless it’s willing to share power with others. Hence, Biden’s plan leaves Hamas in charge,” said Kuperwasser. “This is in direct contradiction of Israel’s position that the war does not end until Hamas is dismantled as Gaza’s ruler,” he added.

“Biden suggests we trust the assumption that Hamas is so weakened that it can’t launch another Oct. 7 attack, and that it has given up on rebuilding its forces,” he said. “It’s clear that both of these things will occur if Hamas is allowed to remain in power.”

According to Kuperwasser, there is a large gap between the situation on the ground in Gaza, where the Israel Defense Forces is winning against Hamas, and the public perception that Israel is treading water.

“On the ground we are winning, but we are not translating this victory into a decisive outcome,” he said. “A decisive outcome means taking military achievements and translating that into Israel or elements on its behalf ruling the Strip. Instead, the IDF has been defeating Hamas then retreating. We left the vacuum into which Biden is entering,” he added.

“It seems as if the Israeli military establishment wants to win the war but is not ready to pay the price that goes along with a decisive outcome.”

On Wednesday, Egyptian, American and Qatari officials were reportedly scheduled to meet in Doha, Qatar, to advance negotiations. CIA Director William Burns is reportedly scheduled to arrive in the area in the coming days to also try to advance contacts.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told French President Macron on Tuesday that Israel’s understanding of the proposal allows it to “achieve all of the war’s objectives that it defined, including Hamas’s elimination.”

“Alongside freeing the hostages, that was and remains Israel’s fundamental objective in the war, and it is determined to achieve it,” said Netanyahu.

Professor Boaz Ganor, president of Reichman University and founder of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, told JNS that not all of the details of the framework have been publicized, and that it is reasonable to assume that there are many additional issues left to iron out.

It appears, however, that “the Americans are trying to bridge over a central and deep gap between the sides—the ultimate demand made from the start by Hamas that the deal lead to the end of the war and to an Israeli withdrawal, as opposed to the firm Israeli position, which holds that after the deal, and certainly so long as the deal is not completed or is delayed maliciously by Hamas, Israel will be able to continue the war in Gaza,” he said.

The U.S. effort includes ambiguous phrasing, such as calling for an end to combat activity but not an end to the war, and various promises, some of which are contradictory, made to both sides in an effort to reach an agreement that will “at least enable the first stage of the deal,” said Ganor.

It appears that at this stage, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar “has not yet reached breaking point, in which he is willing to abandon or mute his strategic goal, and he could even be convinced that continuing the war will harm Israel and its international standing more than it will damage Hamas,” he said.

According to Ganor, it also appears as if the Israeli government has not reached the conclusion that an end to the war is an Israeli interest, even if it might end up advancing a comprehensive deal vis-à-vis Hamas.

“Over all of this hovers mutual suspicion, according to which Sinwar does not believe Israel will refrain from renewing the war despite promises by intermediaries,” while Israel remains deeply suspicious that Hamas will continue to deceive Israel and the entire world and refrain from releasing all of the hostages and the bodies of dead hostages, he said.

Ganor added that Hamas would thus likely try to stretch out the entire process, while sniping at the IDF and trying to attack Israel from other arenas.

The post Debate Deepens in Israel Over Biden’s Multi-Stage Truce Framework first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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CAIR Executive Director Suggests Suspected Iranian Scheme to Kill Trump an ‘Israeli Plot to Ignite Another War’

Nihad Awad, co-founder and executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Photo: Screenshot

The head of the the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) pushed a baseless conspiracy theory suggesting that Israel was behind a suspected Iranian plot to assassinate former US President Donald Trump.

“Are you sure this is not an Israeli plot to ignite another war between the US and other countries in the Middle East at its behest?” tweeted Nihad Awad, co-founder and executive director of CAIR.

Awad was responding to a new CNN report that intelligence officials increased US Secret Service security for Trump after learning of Iran’s plans to murder the former president. There is no indication that the attempted assassination of Trump on Saturday, when he was shot in the ear but survived without major injuries during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, was connected to the suspected Iranian plot.

Iran has denied association with any plot to murder the 2024 Republican presidential nominee, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani saying that the regime “strongly rejects any involvement in the recent armed attack on Trump or claims about Iran’s intention for such an action.”

However, Kanaani stated that Iran will continue to seek retribution against Trump after the US during his presidency killed Qassem Soleimani — a commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an internationally designated terrorist organization — in a drone strike. Soleimani was as the head of the IRGC’s elite Quds force branch, which is responsible for Iran’s proxies and terror operations abroad. He is revered by the Islamic Republic as a martyr and is commemorated across the country.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is determined to pursue legal action against Trump for his direct role in the crime of assassinating Martyr General Qassem Soleimani,” Kanaani said. 

Beyond Trump, Iran has been accused of plotting to kill several former Trump administration officials.

In August 2022, the US Justice Department charged a member of the IRGC with plotting to murder former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton, who served in the Trump administration. The US government has also previously assessed that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Iran envoy Brian Hook, both of whom served under Trump, were targeted by Iran. The US has spent millions of dollars providing round-the-clock, security details for Pompeo and Hook.

It is unclear why Awad suggested without evidence that Israel, an arch foe of Iran, was actually responsible for the alleged Iranian plot against Trump. However, it fits with a pattern of CAIR officials making controversial anti-Israel statements during the ongoing war in Gaza.

Awad, for example, said he was “happy” to witness the Iran-backed Palestinian terrorist group Hamas’ murderous rampage across southern Israel on Oct. 7.

“The people of Gaza only decided to break the siege — the walls of the concentration camp — on Oct. 7,” Awad said in a speech during the American Muslims for Palestine convention in Chicago in November. “And yes, I was happy to see people breaking the siege and throwing down the shackles of their own land, and walk free into their land, which they were not allowed to walk in.”

Awad was referring to the blockade that Israel and Egypt enforced on Gaza after Hamas took control of the Palestinian enclave in 2007, to prevent the terrorist group from importing weapons and other materials and equipment for attacks.

About a week later, the executive director of CAIR’s Los Angeles office, Hussam Ayloush, said that Israel “does not have the right” to defend itself from Palestinian violence. He added in his sermon at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City that for the Palestinians, “every single day” since the Jewish state’s establishment has been comparable to Hamas’ Oct. 7 onslaught.

Last week, CAIR decried US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines’ statement that “actors tied to Iran’s government” have encouraged and provided financial support to anti-Israel protests that have erupted across the US during the Israel-Hamas war. CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell argued that Haines’ statement could incite hate crime attacks against Muslim and Palestinian protesters opposing the so-called “genocide” in Gaza.

CAIR has long been a controversial organization. In the 2000s, it was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing case. Politico noted in 2010 that “US District Court Judge Jorge Solis found that the government presented ‘ample evidence to establish the association’” of CAIR with Hamas.

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), “some of CAIR’s current leadership had early connections with organizations that are or were affiliated with Hamas.” CAIR has disputed the accuracy of the ADL’s claim and asserted that CAIR “unequivocally condemn[s] all acts of terrorism, whether carried out by al-Qa’ida, the Real IRA, FARC, Hamas, ETA, or any other group designated by the US Department of State as a ‘Foreign Terrorist Organization.’”

The post CAIR Executive Director Suggests Suspected Iranian Scheme to Kill Trump an ‘Israeli Plot to Ignite Another War’ first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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ADL Report Finds Rise in Antisemitic Beliefs at University of California After Oct. 7 Hamas Attack

Law enforcement officers detain a demonstrator, as they clear out a pro-Hamas protest encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Los Angeles, California, US, May 2, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/David Swanson

Antisemitic and anti-Zionist attitudes at the University of California, Irvine increased after Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, a new statistical study conducted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has found.

The study — “Attitudes Toward Jews and Israel on California Campuses” — which began roughly four months before Oct. 7, aimed to measure anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist attitudes at four campuses within the University of California (UC) system to determine whether reports of surging antisemitism there are based in fact rather than perception.

The ADL surveyed hundreds of students — liberal and conservative, religious and secular, Jewish and non-Jewish — across the UC system, but because of an accident of timing, UC Irvine (UCI) emerged as a special case study, being the only school whose students submitted responses both before and after the Oct. 7 massacre. Their answers were revealing, according to the ADL, and demonstrated that what Jewish students and faculty have reported feeling is real.

Before Oct. 7, 25 percent of UCI students agreed that “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States.” After Oct. 7, that figure jumped 18 points, to 43 percent, the study found.

Similar increases occurred across the board. For example, the percentage of students who agreed that “Jews have too much power in our country today” nearly doubled after the Hamas atrocities, increasing from 7.9 percent to 15.1 percent. Additionally, 23.6 percent of students agreed after the Oct. 7 tragedy that “it is appropriate for opponents of Israel’s policies to boycott Jewish American owned businesses in their communities.”

“The uptick in antisemitism at UCI after the Hamas attack is perhaps the most disturbing of our findings. The uptick remains even when the other campuses are included,” the ADL report said. “It indicates that widespread reports of feelings of isolation and hostility from their peers among Jewish students and faculty reflected lived rather than politically manufactured experience. We have not, however, explained the increase. Stronger expressions of antisemitism may reflect prejudice that can now be revealed; it has always been there and we are only now seeing it.”

The report also noted that “anti-Jewish attitudes are present and sometimes strongly so” at the three other University of California schools it studied — UC Los Angeles, UC Merced, and UC Riverside — and that, at every school, anti-Zionism is a “predictor” of antisemitism, meaning that students who object to Israel’s existence likely embrace ancient antisemitic tropes.

Other areas of the report stand to be controversial in parts of the pro-Israel community for challenging a widely held view that colleges, being dominated by left-wing faculty and students, “brainwash” students with anti-Zionist beliefs — a claim for which the ADL said it found no evidence. Anti-Zionist college students, it argued, likely form their opinions before starting post-secondary education.

However, critics of higher education have imagined a more nuanced picture of progressive bias on college campuses, one in which students are selected by admissions committees in part for their political views. Such beliefs crystallize, they argue, because of positive social reenforcement and minimal to no exposure to alternative viewpoints.

The ADL report came after the AMCHA Initiative, a campus antisemitism watchdog, in March noted that progressive anti-Zionist faculty did more than ever before to make Zionism anathema on their campuses after Oct. 7 and did, in fact, radicalize or sway students whose opinions about Israel were neutral or positive.

In a report titled “Academic Agitators: The Role of Anti-Zionist Faculty Activism in Escalating Antisemitism at the University of California After October 7, 2023,” the AMCHA Initiative found that incidents of faculty engaging in anti-Zionist advocacy increased 1,100 percent between Oct. 7, 2023 and March 15, 2024. Professors, especially those involved in the anti-Zionist group Faculty for Justice in Palestine (FJP), used their classrooms to indoctrinate students into becoming anti-Zionist and aided student groups in their efforts to alienate and defame Jewish students as “privileged” and “genocide deniers,” according to the study.

The report cited numerous examples of faculty-driven anti-Zionism, including a UC Santa Cruz professor writing “zionism [sic] is not welcome on our campus,” a UC Berkeley graduate student teacher awarding academic benefits for participating in anti-Zionist events, and the UC Merced Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Department posting a statement that described Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 massacre as “genocide” and denied that Hamas is a terrorist group.

UC faculty transfer their attitudes as well as a vocabulary of anti-Zionism to students, the report added. Since Oct. 7, anti-Zionist students have used language that can be directly traced to ideas espoused by their professors, and, at other times, students and teachers collaborated. UC Santa Cruz’s Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Department, for example proclaimed, “Skip school and work. Do not look away from the genocide,” in a message to students promoting Students for Justice in Palestine’s “Shut It Down for Palestine” demonstration held in November.

In July, AMCHA Initiative founder and executive director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin noted that in addition to promoting anti-Zionism, college admissions and hiring policies dictated by affirmative action — also described as racial preferences — all but ensure that many incoming students and faculty are far to the left of center and anti-Zionist.

“Racial preferences pit racial identity against the meritocracy, and one of the reasons that Jews have became so prominent in academia is because it is a system that rewards talent, character, and grit. Jews tend to be well-educated and highly achieving, and when an institution’s primary concern is the quality of the individual as opposed to the color of his or her skin or perceived background, Jews excel,” Rossman-Benjamin explained. “What the university stands for, academic integrity and excellence, are values that have lifted Jews up in America, and, in addition to being critical for advancing humanity, they have been one of the most important sources of our strength in this country.”

She continued, “However, when you impose academic criteria that has nothing to do with those values and nothing to do with academic integrity but everything to do with a political agenda that really at its core is discriminatory and hateful — and antisemitic — you make the university not just a hostile place for Jews but also a hostile place for learning. What’s so interesting is that the way you know that contemporary progressivism is not just a fraudulent and bankrupt ideology but an evil one, is that it produces antisemitism. Antisemitism is a bellwether of its malevolence. If it were positive and healthy, it would lift people up — but it isn’t. In fact, it is hurting them in the deepest ways.”

Follow Dion. J Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post ADL Report Finds Rise in Antisemitic Beliefs at University of California After Oct. 7 Hamas Attack first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Jewish Couple Spat on, Beaten at Anti-Israel Rally in Berlin; Police Investigating Attack

Pro-Hamas demonstrators gather in Berlin, Nov. 4, 2023. Photo: Reuters/Michael Kuenne

A Jewish couple, returning from an ice cream shop, was attacked by a mob of anti-Israel protesters in Berlin on Friday after they noticed a Star of David necklace, according to German media.

As a motorcade of demonstrators chanting anti-Israel slogans passed by on the Torstraße, a demonstrator filmed people on the sidewalk, including the couple identified as Adam, 27, and Hannah, 30, as they walked with their ice cream, the German tabloid newspaper Bild reported.

However, when Adam and Hannah indicated they did not want to be filmed and the former showed his middle finger in anger, the situation escalated. The couple found themselves confronted by “about 15 big guys there, all right in front of us,” Hannah said, according to Bild.

“One of them said, ‘I’ll show you my finger, it will go inside your girlfriend, and when I’m done with her, it will go inside you,’” Adam recounted one of the protesters saying.

Then the mob noticed that Hannah was wearing a Star of David around her neck. One of the man “spat in my face,” Hannah said, and “everyone shouted something in Arabic and spat at us. I instinctively threw my ice cream at him. Then they went after Adam.”

Adam was then reportedly pulled Adam to the ground by his hair, where his head hit the asphalt and he suffered a concussion.

Berlin police, who eventually rescued the couple, are investigating the incident, and two protesters have so far been arrested for assault.

The Jewish couple are Americans who have been living in Berlin for the past five years. 

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, a high school in Berlin that recently canceled its graduation over fears of anti-Israel demonstrations was attacked on Sunday by arsonists who also graffitied a wall of the school with harrowing messages in German such as “Gaza burns, Berlin burns,” according to German media. The Tiergarten Gymnasium’s suffered roughly €250,000 in damages.

The Tiergarten Gymnasium in Berlin was targeted with arson and graffiti. Recently, the school announced that graduation will be held outside due to fears of an anti-Israel demonstration. Photo: Screenshot

The Social Democratic Party of Germany wrote on X/Twitter in response to the arson, “We condemn the arson attack at the Tiergarten Gymnasium. Politically motivated violence has no place in Berlin or anywhere else.”

The AJC Berlin, a Jewish organization dedicated to fighting antisemitism, also condemned the arson on X/Twitter, writing, “Those responsible must be identified quickly. Schools must be safe places!”

Antisemitism in Germany has exploded since Hamas’ massacre in Israel on Oct. 7, when the Palestinian terrorist group killed 1,200 people and kidnapped about 250 people during the onslaught. According to German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, antisemitic hate crimes rose a staggering 95.5 percent in 2023 compared to the prior year.

The post Jewish Couple Spat on, Beaten at Anti-Israel Rally in Berlin; Police Investigating Attack first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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